I Blue Velvet ( 18) (David Lynch, US. 1986) Kyle MacLachlan. Dennis Hopper, lsabella Rossellini. 120 mins. ln small-town Middle America, would-be boy detective MacLachlan finds a severed car on some waste ground. When the police shoo him away he decides to do some investigating of his own. A singular fusion of the cosy and the terrifying which blends kitsch and nightmare. B-movie detection and brutal sex to deconstruct our complacent vision of normal society. This is film-making of remarkable imagination and skill. Glasgow: GFI‘. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Blue Steel (18) (Kathryn Bigelow, US, 1989) Jamie Lee Curtis. Ron Silver. Clancy Brown. 102 mins. Special preview of hard-hitting policier fare from tough cookie director Bi gelow of Near Dark fame. Rookie cop Jamie Lee finds herself at the centre ofa trail ofmotiveless killings. Also screening at the Film Festival this issue (see separate listings for details). Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: UCl. Strathclydc: Odeon Ayr.UC1 Clydebank, UCl East Kilbride. I Chinatown (Roman Polanski, US. 1974) Jack Nicholson. Faye Dunaway. John Huston. 131 mins. Private eye Jake Gittes takes on a routine casein 1937 LA and ends up uncovering more than he bargained for. Splendid conspiracy thriller with a handsome period look and aquite superlative cast. Despite rumours spread by Nicholson and Polanski, though. the nose-slitting scene was faked. Central: MacRobert Arts Centre. I A Christmas Story (PG) (Bob Clark, US, 1983) Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin. Melinda Dillon. 98 mins. Christmasis coming and our young hero desperately wants a certain type of toy gun from Santa. Appealing Forties-set memoir. with a witty first person narration and agreat performance from the bespectacled child star. Edinburgh: Cameo. Strathclydc: UCI Clydebank. UCI East Kilbride. I Cinema Paradiso (PG) (Giuseppe Tornatore. ltaly/France.1988) Phillipe Noiret, Jacques Perrin. Salvatore Cascio. 123 mins. Tornatore's vision of his movie-mad childhood is a wonderful love letter to the cinema itself. Told largely in flashback, it traces the young Salvatore‘s infatuation with his village cinema, and his growing friendship with its pro jectionist (played to perfection by Noiret). Essentially. it‘s Tornatore's lament forthe joyous movie-going experience of his youth and a recognition of the price we pay for our maturity. 1990 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I The Comfort 0f Strangers (18) (Paul Schrader. US. 1990) Rupert Everett, Cristopher Walken, Helen Mirren. Natasha Richardson. 105 mins. See preview. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Crimes and Misdemeanours (15) (Woody Allen, US, 1989) Martin Landau. Anjelica Huston, Woody Allen, Alan Aida. 104 mins. Two stories are interwoven in this accomplished Allen offering which effortlessly blends the Big Questions side of his art with the one-line wit we‘ve taken for granted from him. In the first strand, opthalmologist Martin Landau has a hit man bump off his unsettled mistress lest she alert his wife of their affair, while the second thread has worthy documentary filmmaker Allen clashing with smug media tycoon Alda. The two narratives work towards a wise affirmation of life‘s impenetrable moral complexities. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Crimewave (18) (Sam Raimi, US. 1985) Louise Lasser. Paul Smith, Brion James, Sheree J. Wilson. 86 mins. Made between the two Evil Dead movies. that made Raimi a hearsehold name and scripted by Raimi with the Coen brothers (of Blood Simple and Raising Arizona fame) . Crimewave is a sort of film rouge, a schlocky alternative to Dick Tracy. But

The Garden (18) (Derek Jarman, UK, 1990) Tilda Swinton, Johnny Mills, Kevin Collins, Roger Cook. 92 mins. You have to say that it could only be a Derek Jannan film, and possibly his strongest feature to date at that. Outside the strictures of the big-time movie industry he potters away, piecing together the ramshackle but distinctively lyrical offerings that distil his personal vision. Weighing up and cross-weaving visual and aural textures, he’s in search oi the truly emotive extra-narrative experience. Winging it a little maybe, but here he hits the spot more consistently than ever before.

Filmed largely in and around Jannan's own beachfront home near Dungeness power station, the eponymous garden is a rough patchwork of plants and stones the director has been assembling just outside his front door, but it also supports a weightier biblical connotation for the film’s themes of loss oi innocence and institutionalised repression which metaphorically echo Eden and Gethsemane. While Roger Cook’s Christ figure and a Tilda Swinton costumed after the Madonna drift in and out of the frame, from an ambient haze of dreamlike moods and moments the viewer gradually discerns the formation of a pattern.

The chronicle of the Passion unlolds before us, but replacing the figure of the Messiah are two young lovers - thus the suffering heaped upon our


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Lord is rhymed with the injustices carried out on the gay community over the centuries. While the aggression in both cases derives from a Pharisaical mindset determined to expunge that which lies outside its hypocritically prescribed arena of moral rectitude, Jannan typically and movineg casts the Christ figure and the caring couple as an unequivocal force of goodness.

From New Testament tableaux to footage from gay rights demonstrations Jannan restlesst opts for a number of visual strategies to get the point across, and two scenes of humiliation - a torchlit scufer on a shineg beach, and a disturbing mock torture scene involving the police are indicative of his instinctive talent for finding just the image to communicate on an emotional level.

With its consistent intimations of mortality for Jannan himself (the film acknowledges his HIV-positive status) and the current generation of homosexuals, The Garden is most cetainly a product of the AIDS era, but by purposefully overlapping his paradigms of anti-gay prejudice with the placid dignity of the Christian chronicle he channels anger into an air of nobility. When it could so easily have become a scream of despair, Jannan’s cumulatively compelling film makes a persuasive appeal for compassion. (Trevor Johnston)

Edinburgh Filmhouse 9—12 Jan.

despite the knowingly moronic style which went on to shape Darkman, there’s a spark missing here, and the expected heights and depths seldom materialise. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Danton (15) (Andrer Wajda, France, 1982) Gerard Depardieu, Wojciech Pszoniak, Anne Alvaro. Most critics read this treatment of the ideological tussles between idealistic Danton (Depardieu) and pragmatic Robespierre (onniak) as analogous to the then conflict in Poland between Lech Walesa and General Jaruzelski, because it certainly makes a very conventional historical piece seem a good deal more exciting. Glasgow: GFT. I Darkman (15) (Sam Raimi, US, 1990) Liam Neeson, Frances McCormand,

Colin Friels, Larry Drake. 91 mins. Mr Evil Dead with major studio funding has a ball, harking back to the Hammer Phantom Of The Opera genre, but still exploiting his distinctively fast-moving, schlock-comedy instincts. Neeson is wonderful, even touching, as the genetic scientist who develops a recipe for temporary faces just in time to avenge himself on the gangsters who removed his own rugged features with acid; and Danny Elfman (who scored Batman and Dick Tracy) provides another great soundtrack. Strathclydc: La Scala.

I Death Warrant (18) (Deran Sarafian, US, 1990) Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Guillaume, Cynthia Gibb, George Dickinson, Patrick Kilpatrick. 110 mins.

Our Jean-Claude plays a hardened cop who‘s just busted mad. mental psycho-killer The Sandman (Kilpatrick), and who is just recovering from his wounds when he‘s assigned to undercover work, posing as a convict to investigate a series of prison murders. Before long, he's defying death threats to uncover the sinister racket thriving in Harrison Penitentiary. And he's on the point of solving the mystery, when a nasty shock appears in the shape of a new inmate . . . Formulaic tough-guy antics, with Van Damme and his bulging shirts on regular form. Glasgow: Cannon The Forge. Edinburgh: UCl. Strathclydc: UCl Clydebank. UCl East Kilbride. I Delta Force 2 (18) (Aaron Norris, US, 1990) Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, Richard Jaeckel, John P. Ryan. Paul Perri. Begonia Plaza. 110 mins. A long succession of tough-guy antics. explosions, exotic locations and close brushes with poison gas and beautiful girls. all draped over the most undernourished plotline imaginable. A poor man‘s James Bond. without any of the saving graces. Glasgow: Cannon The Forge. Edinburgh: UCl. I Die Hard 2: Die liarder ( 18) (Renny Harlin, US, 1990) Bruce Willis. Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton. 122 mins. Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is spending Christmas in Washington. but as he waits at the airport for his wife's flight to get in the whole place is taken over by terrorists. Needless to say action man Bruce jumps in there to sort them out, but he’d better be quick because the baddies are refusing to let his missus‘s plane land. Usual patterned sequel that‘s like the original. only more so with much moolah spent on the explosions and superhero Willis battling a screenplay of towering mediocrity. Edinburgh: UCl. Strathclydc: UCl Clydebank. UCl East Kilbride. I Don Giovanni (PG) (Joseph Losey, ltaly/France/West Germany. 1979) Ruggero Raimondi. John Macurdy, Edda More. Kin' Te Kawana. Kenneth Riegel. 176 mins. Radical and colourful interpretation of Mozart‘s great opera. with Raimondi‘s Don presented in an overwrought and highly unattractive light, indulging himselfofthe fruits ofothers’ labour. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Ernest Saves Christmas (PG) (John Cherry, US, 1988) Jim Varney. Douglas Seale, Oliver Clarke. Noelle Parker. 92 mins. Santa, now aged 151 , is gettinga little long in the tooth, and arrivesin Florida to pass the job on to a children’s television presenter. But the accident-prone Ernest P. Worrell is driving the cab so complications can't be too far away. Silly second feature starring the character originally invented for a milk advertisement in the Southern States. Edinburgh: UCl. I The Exorcist (18) (William Friedkin, US. 1973) Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow. 110 mins. Earnest priest Von Sydow steps in to save poor little obsessed girl in this hugely effective scarefest. Dead good, dead scarey, dead priest. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Strathclydc: Odeon Ayr, WMR Film Centre. I Exorcist 3 ( 18) (William Peter Blatty, US, 1990) George C. Scott, Jason Miller, Brad Dourif. 110 mins. The ‘official' sequel to the first film, written and directed by its screenwriter. is a superfluous and disappointing effort with nothing new to offer and far too much long-winded dialogue. The events are discussed rather than shown forth. and as a result the terror factor is pretty feeble, at least until the climactic exorcism itself. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. I The Fabulous Baker Boys ( 15) (Steve Kloves, US, 1989) Jeff Bridges. Beau Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer. 113 mins. Writer/director Kloves makes an auspicious debut with this evocative tale of broken dreams. fraternal jealousy and slowly awakening passion among three

20The List21 December 1990- 10 January 1991